FlyingNanook From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 830 posts, RR: 14 Posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5066 times:
Before I start, I'm going to warn you that the most of the pics that I'm linking to are huge (2048x1586). Also, please click on the full screen view to get the full beauty.
Hi all, I'd like to tell you about my trip on the last scheduled revenue flight on an Alaska 732. This trip took place on Thursday, March 29. I decided to do something completely foolish by booking a flight out to Adak Island (ADK) and back on the same day, just so I could get on the last 732 flight. The flight that I ended up taking that day ended up being far more interesting than a normal flight to an island halfway to Japan.
I left FAI on AS62, a normal 734 flight to ANC. We were served water, orange juice or coffee, and pretzels. Nothing too special to report, after about 45 minutes we were in ANC. I had a couple hours in ANC before AS138, ANC-AKN (King Salmon) -ADK left, so I spent some time in the observation lounge watching countless cargo 747's and MD-11's coming and going.
Finally it was time to get on the flight to Adak, via King Salmon. The 732 was configured with 6 pallets of cargo, and 26 seats. I was in 16A, the first row behind the bulkhead. Here's a pic of the cabin.
And if you're curious about what's behind the door, here's a pic of that.
There were 21 people on the short flight to King Salmon. Just like the flight from Fairbanks, this was an unremarkable flight. We were served pretzels with orange juice, coffee or water, and after a little less than an hour, we were in King Salmon. 11 people got off the plane, and this is where the story gets interesting. But before I get into that, here's a shot of the King Salmon apron.
After the King Salmon passengers get off, the captain announces that we will be fueling up for the flight to Adak, and that will take about 45 minutes. So a few more people get off the plane to smoke and stretch their legs. This left about 5 of us on the plane chatting with the flight attendants. I learned more about toilets on various planes than I ever thought I would in that conversation. Anyways, the captain comes into the cabin through that nifty little door in the bulkhead and tells us that the weather in Adak is a no go. There were crosswinds of 40 knots, and gusts up to 80 knots. So he told us that he has a special surprise for us because this is the last commercial flight of the 732, and his retirement flight. We just have to be patient because he needs to transfer fuel from the center tank to the wing tanks because we won't be on the long flight to Adak as expected.
It turns out that the special surprise was that he got special permission to go on a volcano tour. This special tour involved flying at 15,000 feet, and doing circles around the volcanoes. Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendants served us lunch, because they had tons of meals loaded for the flight to Adak and back. This lunch consisted of a warm turkey sandwich, Matanuska Thunder Chips, and a molasses cookie. Not too bad for an hour long flight. Since pictures speak much more than words, I have very little to say about the flight, and will let the pictures do the taking.
This is a braided river, I'm not sure which one, but my best guess is that it's the Alagnak River.
These are some mountains in the Cook Inlet, looking at my atlas, it might be the the Fourpeaked Mountain area.
This is Augustine Volcano, notable for sitting on its own island in the Cook Inlet, and for erupting last year burying much of Southcentral Alaska in ash. It's 4,134 feet tall.
This is Mount Iliamna, not notable for much, but it's 10,016 feet tall.
I'm not sure what this is, but I think it's pretty. Upon consultation with my atlas, I believe that it's Crescent Lake, maybe.
Now this is the highlight of the tour, Mount Redoubt. This is the volcano that erupted in 1989, and tried to crash a KLM 747. If you look under the wing, you can see that it blew out the side in that eruption. Redoubt stands at 10,197 feet, and remember that we were flying at 15,000, so we were amazingly close, for being in a jet.
Now the tour is coming to a close, and the last picture is on approach to Anchorage, a lovely view of the engine and some ice flows in Cook Inlet.
So that is the story of the last scheduled revenue flight of Alaska's 732 (I say last scheduled because it was substituted on several flights later that day). I hope you all enjoyed the volcano tour as much as I did. This is a memory that I will take with me for a long long time. I would like to leave you with one last picture, my favorite picture of N741AS, to say goodbye to an old friend.
L-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29349 posts, RR: 62 Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4793 times:
Quoting FlyingNanook (Thread starter): Anyways, the captain comes into the cabin through that nifty little door in the bulkhead and tells us that the weather in Adak is a no go. There were crosswinds of 40 knots, and gusts up to 80 knots. So he told us that he has a special surprise for us because this is the last commercial flight of the 732, and his retirement flight.
Reeve would have made it in. There is a reason there are two runways at ADK.
Reeve's 727's and Electras where much better suited for the Aleutians then the short legged 737-200. That and the use of Reeve of Cold Bay as their en-route fuel stop was better logisticly for that run since it was some 400 miles closer to ADK then King Salmon is.
Back in 1996, I was working at Cold Bay for Reeve, and what they would do is fly out there on the CDB-ADK run pick up two of us rampers from CDB have us go out to ADK to service the plane and then drop us back off again on return flight. We did it one time in an Electra, Left out of CDB and flew out over False Pass and Umnak Island between Shishaldin and Roundtop volcanos, right at summit elevation.
On another trip got a great view of Okmok Volcano at the north end of Umnak Island, which was erupting at the time.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
Rineanna From Ireland, joined Jan 2007, 879 posts, RR: 13 Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4613 times:
Very interesting and different trip-report! My first flight was on one of RYR's 732s. It was quite an interesting first flight! I loved the take-off roll on the 732s, so much louder and bouncier then the NG aircraft!
AirlineBrat From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 634 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3884 times:
Wow, what a lucky trip even though you didn't make it all the way out to Adak.
I have been on several QX flights between SEA and PDX during the past 4 or 5 years where the pilot got permission to circle Mt St Helens. One time, he mentioned on the intercom that since the left side got to see Mt Rainier, the right side would get to see Mt St Helens. I said out loud how that was not fair and I wanted to see it too. The flight attendant said that she would try to ask the pilot if he might be able to grant my wish. Before she was able to contact him, he came on the PA system and said that since the passengers on the left side spoke up he would circle around so the left side could see the volcano. I was treated to 3/4 of a loop around the summit. I flew over Mt St Helens a week after it erupted in 1980. The UA pilot circled it twice so all the passengers were able to see what was left of the volcano. It is amazing to see how much of the forests have regenerated except for the NE side. Mt St Helens looked like the surface of the moon back in 1980 after the initial eruption. I flew JFK to SEA then SEA to SFO that day. We started seeing ash on the ground somewhere over the Dakotas.
Great picture of Redoubt. I was going to UAF when it erupted in December 1989. It erupted in the morning and I flew out that night on UA's FAI-ANC-SEA redeye. I was on my way back to Jersey for X-Mas. My flight was one of the last flights out. The next morning, they canceled most of the flights out of FAI and closed ANC due to ash and the KLM incident. Many of my friends didn't make it down to the Lower 48 until a day or two before Christmas. I was at the McKinley Music Festival in Cantwell the day that Mt Spurr erupted. I think that was in the early 90's. The ash cloud was west of us and was visible from the south to the north. The jetstream was flowing almost due north that day.
I'm leavin on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again....
ArcticBlast From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 20 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3001 times:
Quoting L-188 (Reply 3): Reeve would have made it in. There is a reason there are two runways at ADK.
Yes, 5 and 36, but, I'm guessing that AS dispatch may have cancelled that flight on out to ADK for this reason: They may not have been able to offload the "igloos" (for any who don't know, "igloos" are Alaska's names for the custom-built cargo-containers on the 200 Combis). I forget what the wind-speed rating is to open the clamshell cargo-door, but I think it is less than the threshold for take-offs and landings. So, if that is the case, why send the Mudhen west to Adak if they can't safely offload the cargo without risking sheering off the cargo-door?
They would risk being stuck on the ground at ADK until they could offload the cargo, negatively impacting any rev-PAX back at AKN for the return to ANC, and especially for that plane's usual, late-evening flight from ANC up to FAI.
Again, that is just speculation on my part, but I've heard flight-crews on that route tell of having to improvise wind-blocks at ADK in order get the igloos offloaded when they have landed at ADK in marginal conditions.
ArcticBlast From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 20 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2925 times:
Quoting FlyingNanook (Thread starter): So he told us that he has a special surprise for us because this is the last commercial flight of the 732, and his retirement flight.
Great story about N741AS' final, scheduled revenue flight. Well done.
Because it was also that captain's retirement flight, did you get a water-cannon salute from the fire-brigade when you returned to ANC? I know that plane received such a ceremony from a pair of water-tankers, a couple days later, on 31 March 2007, when it returned from its last-ever, Alaska Airlines flight, a non-rev, flightseeing trip around Mt. McKinley, but perhaps you got the same treatment? (Then again, maybe it would have been too dark by then when you landed in ANC.) Just curious...
Reeve would have made it in. There is a reason there are two runways at ADK.
Quoting ArcticBlast (Reply 13): Yes, 5 and 36, but, I'm guessing that AS dispatch may have cancelled that flight on out to ADK for this reason: They may not have been able to offload the "igloos" (for any who don't know, "igloos" are Alaska's names for the custom-built cargo-containers on the 200 Combis).
ArcticBlast, from what I know, you are correct. Even though they may have gotten the 732 into Adak Island safely within the crosswind limitations, the cargo door's limitations are 40kt winds in transit or full open, according to an article on the Mudhens. So, they would be able to land, and deplane passengers, but that's about it.
Awesome trip report! AQ is one of the last U.S. carriers (perhaps THE last?) flying the 732, and several former AS 732s have been sold to Aloha. Thanks for sharing!
"Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations." -Sam Rayburn